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  • Updated 12.19.2020
  • Released 12.10.1996
  • Expires For CME 12.19.2023

Chemotherapy: neurologic complications

Introduction

Overview

Patients with cancer are living longer due to earlier diagnoses and remarkable improvements in treatments. Unfortunately, neurologic complications from chemotherapy remain a significant cause of morbidity and may play a role in limiting potential treatments. In addition, novel therapies such as small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors, immunotherapy, CAR T cell therapy, and various monoclonal antibodies have been associated with neurologic complications. Because treatments for therapy-induced neurotoxicity are limited, awareness of common neurologic complications is important to prevent permanent damage. The authors review common neurologic complications of both conventional chemotherapy and novel anticancer therapies in this article.

Key points

• Neurologic complications from systemic anticancer therapies impact quality of life and remain an important source of dose-limiting toxicity.

• The neurotoxicities of chemotherapy are widely known, but targeted agents and immunotherapies are also associated with neurologic complications.

• Early recognition and prevention may help avoid permanent neurologic damage.

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